Occasionally a letter greets me from a distant place, filled with consolatory expressions, tender remembrances, or fine compliments. If it rain, my room is a shelter; if the sun flame too intensely, I can choose a shady retreat; if I am sick, medical aid is at hand. Besides, I have been charged with a specific offence—have had the privilege of a trial by jury, and the aid of eminent counsel—and am here ostensibly to satisfy the demands of justice. A few months, at the longest, will release me from my captivity. Now, how is it with the slave? He gets a peck of corn (occasionally a little more) each week, but rarely meat or fish. He must anticipate the sun in rising, or be whipped severely for his somnolency. Rain or shine, he must toil early and late for the benefit of another. If he be weary, he cannot rest—for the lash of the driver is flourished over his drooping head, or applied to his naked frame; if sick, he is suspected of laziness, and treated accordingly. For the most trifling or innocent offence, he is felled to the earth, or scourged on his back till it streams with blood. Has he a wife and children, he sees them as cruelly treated as himself. He may be torn from them, or they from him, at any moment, never again to meet on earth. Friends do not visit and console him: he has no friends. He knows not what is going on beyond his own narrow boundaries. He can neither read nor write. The letters of the alphabet are cabalistical to his eyes. A thick darkness broods over his soul. Even the ‘glorious gospel of the blessed God,’ which brings life and immortality to perishing man, is a sealed book to his understanding. Nor has his wretched condition been imposed upon him for any criminal offence. He has not been tried by the laws of his country. No one has stepped forth to vindicate his rights. He is made an abject slave, simply because God has given him a skin not colored like his master's; and Death, the great Liberator, alone can break his fetters. Reflections like the foregoing turned my prison into a palace. Can you wonder, benevolent Sir, that I was enabled to sing,— after such an amazing contrast,—with a heart overflowing with gratitude,—When all thy mercies, O my God,If the public sympathy is so strongly excited in my behalf, because justice has been denied me in a single instance,
My rising soul surveys,
Transported with the view I'm lost
In wonder, love and praise!
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
Chapter 1 : Ancestry.— 1764 - 1805 .
Chapter 2 : Boyhood.— 1805 - 1818 .
Chapter 3 : Apprenticeship.— 1818 - 1825 .
Chapter 4 : editorial Experiments.— 1826 - 1828 .
Chapter 5 : Bennington and the Journal of the Times — 1828 - 29 .
Chapter 6 : the genius of Universal emancipation. — 1829 - 30 .
Chapter 7 : Baltimore jail, and After.— 1830 .
Chapter 8 : the Liberator — 1831 .
Chapter 9 : organization: New-England Anti-slavery Society .—Thoughts on colonization.— 1832 .
Chapter 10 : Prudence Crandall .— 1833 .
Chapter 11 : first mission to England .— 1833 .
Chapter 12 : American Anti-slavery Society .— 1833 .
Chapter 13 : Marriage.— shall the Liberator die? — George Thompson .— 1834 .
Chapter 14 : the Boston mob ( first stage).— 1835 .
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